MONDAY 8 FEBRUARY
Returned from Ireland to find Britain once again taking the full brunt of wintry weather. Temperatures had plummeted to just 2 degrees C and snow was again falling but not settling. A moderate North-easterly wind meant that it was bitterly cold in exposed areas.
COALHOUSE FORT, EAST TILBURY (ESSEX)
I was hoping to connect with my first Shore Larks of the year but on talking to Graham Ekins on the phone, realised that the three birds I had been looking for had flown back south over the River Thames to Cliffe Pools RSPB in North Kent. There was also no sign of the Slavonian Grebe reported earlier.
The Fort pools held 4 Little Grebes, whilst the adjacent estuary on the ebbing tide had just 15 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 68 Dunlin and a few Common Redshank and Eurasian Curlew.
A single Little Egret, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, 8 Chaffinch and 2 Reed Bunting were also noted but best of all was the flock of 37 CORN BUNTINGS in the long grass just inside the sea wall.